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Pendulum

review by Chad P.

 

 

Rated: R (For Nudity and Violence)

Running Time: 94 minutes

Starring: Rachel Hunter, Matt Battaglia, James Russo

Written by: Jason Kabolati

Directed by: James Deck

 

Studio: Artisan

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Trailer

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Stereo, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections

Released: February 26th, 2002

 

 

 

This is a strange, yet snappy and well bred film. There's nothing spectacular about this picture and there's nothing incredibly horrid about it either.

...It's just one big swell, happy-in-the-middle, regular Joe.

So, as you pass by "Pendulum" countless times at your local video rental shop, gazing at its semi interesting cover, just keep this in mind:

There is nothing remotely original about the film, except maybe the execution and the ending. And while the concept of "original" may in the eye of the beholder, we've still seen this story before, and we know it.

So who would/could/should rent this film?

Well, if you're into supermodel Rachel Hunter (the film's lead), or stereotypical power-hungry lesbians, occasional boob shots ("the male gaze" camera), or a tiresome plot -- This film might be for you. Perhaps the only interesting thing about this film was the odd ending, and the fact that the main character submits to being used and accepts that fact -- the end. We're not even allowed the end we're expecting. We wait the entire film for Rachel Hunter to find the killer, and what does she do? She throws the evidence literally into the Ocean.

The end.

So, storywise..."Pendulum" flunks. Execution, however, is on another level.

"Pendulum" is a film with a visual plan from day. Most every shot is at least trying to be something unique (cept for maybe a scene here or there when they were in a rush). Director James Deck knows what he's doing and where the camera should be. At times, we're disallowed the ability to really connect with the characters, but there's only so much that can be done with a bad script.

Beyond directing, we have an interesting edit and a very television paced setting with the scenes always flowing from one to the next. At times, the edit is overkill -- but at no point is it incredibly nagging.

Acting was nice, and I don't have any complaints (maybe even a little praise) for the supermodel-turned-B-film actress, Rachel Hunter. Even the supporting crew was nice. No general problems.

*sigh*

So, again, here you are...walking past "Pendulum," deciding what to rent.

Do you rent it?

No. Keep walking.

 

 

"Pendulum" was one of the cleaner DVD transfers that I've seen come out of the Artisan house, which is nice for a change. At times, the MPEG2 compression was quite noticable, as it always is during dark sequences. Sometimes, the image would hold for several frames before moving to the next because the frames were so similar, but the effect is unnoticable from across the room.

The cinematography in the film is well planned and, sometimes, visually interesting -- yet, at the same time, it can get a little distracting. There are several reflection shots in the film, and only two of them really seem to work without jumping out and saying, "hey, look at me! I'm an attempt to be cool!" SO, it's hit and miss all the way through.

 

With the exception of the score sometimes not underscoring a dramatic scene, "Pendulum"s audio is flawless. Between the DVD transfer and the actual filming I could not pick out any specific problems or hard to hear sequences. This is a straight out simple Dolby Digital audio track, and it meets all the standards and exceeds them. The audio levels have been mixed quite well and professionally, as they should be, but again, the score seems to be the only problem.

 

Here, the "Pendulum" DVD offers us nothing in addition to the film except a Trailer. If I could read Spanish, I might pop the DVD back in and watch it all over again with the Spanish subtitles to see if that helps the flawed script any -- But I'm not getting my hopes up.

 

Perhaps I enjoyed this film more than I let up in my review, but the fact of the matter is that watching this film has not altered me in any way, shape or form -- which is what a film *should* be made to do. I do not feel any closer to these characters, nor do I feel any real connection to the main character by the end of the film (Which must be why the ending didn't piss me off to all hell.)

SO, on a final note -- if you pass "Pendulum" while browsing the TV channels one night (and there's nothing else on), go ahead and give it a try. Like I said, it's not horrible, and it's nothing amazing. It simply passes the time.